Coronavirus to bring ‘radical change’ in future of GP consultation thanks to key tech
The coronavirus outbreak has forced GP practices across the UK to rely on technology to limit the risks of contagion for both staff and patients. Dr Richard Vautrey, the chair of the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee, revealed most GPs are now conducting consultation either via phone or online to keep patients from having to travel to attend an appointment. Speaking to Express, Dr Vautrey said: “It has had a major impact on everybody working in the health service, and general practice is no exception.
“We’ve seen a radical change in the way we consult with our patients.
“In most practices, rather than the traditional face-to-face consultation which largely sees a patient come into the practice, we are now doing the vast majority of consultations either by telephone or increasingly by video call.”
Dr Vautrey said patients have been reacted positively to the changes as he said online and phone consultations are helping limit direct contact among potentially infected people.
He continued: “That’s been a significant change for both practices and for patients, and patients have worked well with us on that and we have continued to support our patients as best as we can through those methods.
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“We’ve been trying to limit the number of individuals coming into the practice as much as possible because we want to reduce their risk of infection by coming out unnecessarily.
“But we also want and need to protect our staff from the risk of being exposed to the current infection so we can retain a healthy workforce and unable support to our patients going forward.”
Dr Vautrey suggested the response to the pandemic from GPs could change the way consultations are conducted beyond the outbreak, with patients being able to access medical services more “conveniently”.
He also highlighted the relevance of online services for rural communities now struggling to have regular one-on-one consultations with their GPs because of their location.
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Dr Vautrey urged the British Government to ensure GPs are able to secure sufficient stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) as they continue to treat patients during the coronavirus outbreak.
NHS and other medical staff have lamented the lack of appropriate protection despite pledges from the Government to guarantee access to protective gear to all medics treating COVID-19 sufferers.
The British Medical Association (BMA) warned earlier this week members are reporting current provisions are “useless” as they demanded efforts are dialled up to guarantee the security of medical professionals.
The Government has once again pleaded with Britons to heed calls to stay home and avoid going outside during the Easter holidays.
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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has been leading the Cabinet as Prime Minister Boris Johnson recuperates after being struck by COVID-19, on Thursday confirmed the Government will not be lifting lockdown measures until the number of cases decreases.
Mr Raab said: “After all the sacrifices so many people have made, let’s not ruin it now.
“We mustn’t give the coronavirus a second chance to kill more people and hurt our country.”
Lockdown provisions were due to reviewed this week but the Foreign Secretary confirmed the review will take place once hard scientific data is available showing the worst of the virus has passed.
The Government is now expected to convene at the end of next week to discuss a potential extension of the lockdown, or the easing of the measures.
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